People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of core strength in maintaining spinal alignment and preventing back injury. However, there are still some common misconceptions about what a ‘strong core’ really is.
Research in the 1990’s sparked the theory that isolating and strengthening the deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis) was the key to core health. Over time, with the aesthetic appeal of the six-pack (rectus abdominis), core training came to focus almost exclusively on the abs. Unfortunately, concentrating on strengthening just one set of core muscles can actually pull the spine out of alignment. No six-pack is worth a ruined back!
The core musculature
Researchers now consider “the core” to be the corset of muscles and connective tissue that encircle the spine: the Rectus Abdominis, Transversus Abdominis, Multifidus, Internal Oblique, External Oblique, Quadratus Lumborum, Ilopsoas, and Erector Spinae. These muscles must be balanced to maintain good posture and stabilise the spine during movement, protecting it from injury.
A good core exercise program should emphasise all of the major muscles that band the spine including, but not concentrating on, the abs.
How Lagree Fitness strengthens the core
Lagree Fitness focuses heavily on core stabilising exercises and maintaining good form throughout each and every move. Exercises work the body through all three planes of movement, in both directions to maintain balance in the muscular skeletal system.
The Sagittal Plane
Functional movement: bending front and back
Key muscles: Rectus Abdominis and Iliopsoas
Classic exercises: Giant Crunch, Super Crunch, Megaformer Crunch and Tailbone Angel Crunch
The Transverse Plane
Functional movement: rotation
Key muscles: External Obliques and Internal Obliques
Classic exercise: Kneeling Torso Twist, Mermaid Twist, Soul Train, Single Arm Row, and Angel Torso Twist
The Frontal Plane
Functional movement: side bending
Key muscles: The Obliques, Quadratus Lumborum, Multifidus, and Erector Spinae
Classic exercises: Mermaid Twist, Side Plank, Scrambled Eggs
For more information check out this article from Dr Mark Greenberg, MD: "Understanding the Core Musculature".
Don’t persist with traditional sit-ups that place devastating pressure on your spinal disks. A Megaformer classes will get you that six-pack and a healthy spine!